Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    March 8, 2011 2:00pm-2:30pm PST

2:00 pm
he was paid about 13.-- $13,000 for about five weeks of work, which is what a specialist makes. related to another property, the mayor of the area earlier than this, she had wanted a dog park, actually, that would use some unused land there, but in talking to korea and driving around her area, there were a number -- but in talking to her and driving around her area, there were a number of pieces of land. another was a property we have in el camino. it does not really front in el camino, and they were working through a general plan update for her area, and whether it is housing in the area or something else -- so that is the work that we would typically hire a
2:01 pm
consultant for that we could do this with a city staff person also, so that is what that man was hired to do. he did some research, visited the sites, did a variety of things, and issued a report for puc parcels. management said they were happy with the work. there is a pair of the speculation for why he would be interested -- there is apparently speculation for what he would be interested. i wanted to discuss the general issue, because it is one that will likely come up, and it is the question of buying back retirement credits. i am concerned that it could be viewed as breaking the rules. our retirement system in the city is not as straightforward as you would imagine. for example, when i started with
2:02 pm
the puc, i was temporary. back then, there were some people who stayed their entire 25-year career and never became employees. typically, many, many employees were involved, like bus drivers or custodians, and when there were smaller numbers, they just hired them. once he became a permanent employee, you could buy back the time -- once you became a permanent employee, so i could start buying back my seven years. the civil service list, i was not eligible for being in the retirement plan for those seven years. in the 1990's, the world's changed. we were then told that we should not have -- the rules changed. anybody after six months went into the retirement system, so there are thousands of employees
2:03 pm
who have been buying back their time since then, because they were not eligible originally for that time, and they can buy it back for appropriate work. they had done the work. they just were not eligible to buy it back. some were originally not eligible. that was changed in 2001, and so, it did not give them any additional years' service. if anything, what he was interested in doing was being able to get credit for the time that he had actually served. again, i am not sure that is what it is, but i am assuming that that is what the newspaper article which be about, and in my view -- that is what the newspaper article would be about. i am happy to take any questions. commissioner: are these more
2:04 pm
appropriate in a closed session as opposed to a public session? >> i do not think we have litigation risk here, because it is not on the agenda, if you ask questions, then the general manager should respond to them outside of the meeting instead of a long discussion on something that is not agendized. commissioner: is is a personnel issue? >> i do not think it is a personnel matter at this time. i think it is more a public relations issue. there is no dispute about your ability to hire temporary employees or if this is what the issue is about, eligibility and the retirement rules, that would be something that
2:05 pm
retirement would deal with. commissioner: i will have to recuse myself from any discussion, is what i am concerned about. >> from a discussion point of view, because this is not a agendized. it was really an information item to provide background -- because this is not agendized. president vietor: my understanding is that this was an information item, because there might be an article appearing. the idea was to be informed about the nature of the article, and i think if the article says something or reveals something that requires further conversation, perhaps we can have it on the agenda for a closed session? commissioner: there would be additional issues raised? >> i do not presume that. i think the issues i've heard about are just those.
2:06 pm
the questions we have gotten from the press is was he employed and what did he do, and that is it. commissioner: ok. president vietor: thank you. >> the next item is a sodium hydrochloride update. >> thank you. president vietor, commissioners, good afternoon. i am with waste water. there was some news in the last couple of weeks, so i am here to give you an update. if this is not what you buy it at your store, -- this is not
2:07 pm
the bleach you buy at your store, and it has a big role. it protects public health. however, its primary use for us is disinfection. disinfection of drinking water and also the treatment of water. it is also used for odor control in our waste water collection system. so it will be this last piece that i will be focusing the discussion on today. this was question a lot in the media, so i will talk about that in one piece. i should note that it is one of the many methods that we used to combat odor in waste water. so where do we use this? on the charts year, about 50% of the sodium hypochlorite is used
2:08 pm
for disinfecting water. about 30% is used for disinfecting and treating waste water, and the remaining amount is used for over control -- odor control. it is not the only chemical we use. we also use peroxide and a ferriss solution -- ferous -- ferrous solution. they are cite specific.
2:09 pm
this is basically from where the odors are coming from. you want to know what this costs. that is what you are looking at there. while the total chemical addition has gone down, you will note that for sodium hypochlorite, it has actually increased, and in the next few slides, i will show you y. -- why. we are not just using chemicals. we are also using other methods. in the elevated ventilation stacks, these are sights specific. -- site specific. they are on the embarcadero. this is why we chose it, get it
2:10 pm
out of people's way. it would not work everywhere. it would not work at one of our facilities, because in one area, there is a lot of vertical development, multilevel condos, and it would affect the second floor and so on and so forth. the middle picture, we have spent a lot of money to talk about this, money every year cleaning sewers and inspecting sewers. this also helps to control odors and involves flat areas. on the bottom right is one of our pioneering areas. this also helps us mitigate odors. around the southeast plant, we use a chlorination method.
2:11 pm
within that neighborhood, in very close proximity, and in the sewers there. we are also pirating and costly testing new products. -- we are also piloting and constantly testing products. more biological solutions, and two of those i have listed their -- there, including an enzyme. what we found is that they were not as effective. we use just as much per day to help solve the odor problem in the area. that we monitor and track, but it has not delivered what the manufacturers claim, and you can
2:12 pm
imagine, in the last couple of weeks, we have been inundated with vendors claiming that they have the magic bullet, the solution to solve all of our problems in regards to odors, and we are looking carefully at those. i, myself, have gotten one dozen calls. we are looking to see if, indeed, and they are going to work for us and at what type of location. the landscape, although we are a city, it is still changing for us. what you see on the picture is just to show you that i went to hundred 80 in mission creek, baseball fans -- i want to show you that at 280 and mission
2:13 pm
creep, baseball fans -- what you see there -- and mission creek, baseball fans -- what you see there is an encroachment on our property. there is also a dog park immediately adjacent to the pump station. what does this mean for us? it means we have to adapt. we must adapt. what does that mean? we use chemical additions and engineering solutions. these engineering solutions, we scrub the air, which we do at other facilities, also, all over the southeast. so looking at the future, we recognize the development of the
2:14 pm
program workshops, and odor will always be an issue in my shop, so you adopted a level of service. commissioner: you mean in your facilities, not your shop. >> exactly, all of our facilities. we are going to be able to achieve that through a series of methods, a variety of them, long-term engineering solutions. maybe we can get more flow to get to the treatment plants. flushing options. the auxiliary water supply system. that may be something we can do, use in our sewers. the one question that kept coming up, are we dumping
2:15 pm
pollution into the bay? absolutely not. "thou shalt not dumped into the bay any residual -- dump into the bay any residual or any bleach." we must dechlorinate it, and we also treat it with something else. teh -- the fish have to be able to live in the effluent in what we are putting in the water for 24 hours, and a certain parts per million is a violation in the insights -- in the mine of the -- in the opinion of teh e
2:16 pm
-- the epa. gaseous chlorine, we moved away from that. safety for the residents near there, safety for our employees, much easier to transfer. sodium shp -- hypochlorite is what we are using. we piloted that technology b 19. we are going to be looking at that as one of the alternatives for disinfection of waste water in our future, and with that, i will take any questions. president vietor: commissioner
2:17 pm
torres? commissioner torres: no. 1, we are looking at a policy to not release any unleashed dogs. do you see any potential impact on the dog bark? -- dog park? >> i will have a difficult time commenting on that, because i have not seen that. commissioner torres: i just wanted to ask whether or not you are looking at that. is this the only dog park around our facilities? >> waste water, it is the only one. >> we have a lot of cities and a lot of reservoirs' that have space around them where people walk their dogs -- a lot of reservoirs that have space around them. commissioner torres: when you
2:18 pm
say that the fish have to live for 72 hours, what does that mean? >> they are extremely sensitive to chlorine, so that is why we use the particular species, to check to make sure that there is no chlorine. commissioner torres: these species are not in debate, they are in a laboratory somewhere? -- these species are not in the bay? i appreciate you're being very emphatic about the fact that there is no dumping of bleach in the bay, but how do you neutralize the chlorine? >> there is a channel. when it comes out of that, we measure it. how many parts per million? every day, the operator has a target.
2:19 pm
"today's target is --" it comes back from the channel. it is down to one, so he has to go sit with another chemical -- he has to dose it with another chemical. commissioner torres: all right, thank you. president vietor: i have a follow-up for that. the chemical used to neutralize it, does that then go into the bay? and what is sodium bisulfite? >> i am not sure if the test came today. >> waste water enterprise. the question is, does that
2:20 pm
chemical then a we have -- then reach the bay? there is a chemical reaction that is happening. there is a reaction, and it is no longer present as sodium bisulfite, and we test to see that there is no interference with either of these chemicals in the bay. they have non-toxic effects. president vietor: epa? >> it would be considered best practiced for waste water treatment -- best practice. president vietor: that is probably the standard they are using? is that correct? >> yes. president vietor: i thought the
2:21 pm
dollar amounts, -- amount, tommy, was $14 million? i saw the puc contribution to that is smaller. is that correct? >> the chart that i showed you is just waste water. the money table. president vietor: $14 million -- >> that is a citywide contract, and the puc and the airport, the airport is about $32,000 annually. president vietor: city airport is the primary purchaser? >> no. -- so the airport is the primary purchaser? >> no. the airport is a fairly small
2:22 pm
amount. the puc use about half. waste water uses it at their treatment plant for about one- third. the $14 million was a three-year total. president vietor: there was also this question around the low- flow toilets. >> the question is not really about low-flow toilets. it is really about water conservation. i think it is important for us, there is never going to be enough water. a lot of rain the last couple of years, but i think what your conversation, -- water conservation, we have to adapt to a whole new way of doing business. i do not think it is going to be
2:23 pm
returning to a couple of years ago for a very long time, so we must adopt not just the low-flow toilets and low-flow shower heads, but sea level rise, changing brain patterns, so there is a lot of agitation that has to happen. i believe one man will come up here to talk about that in his presentation -- changing rain patterns, so there is a lot of adaptation that has to happen. president vietor: getting more serious to find alternatives that might be non-toxic? >> yes, we certainly have to look at alternatives, and part of the management team is going to be coming on. we are looking to put out the rfp. sewer design. as i just talked about, there is
2:24 pm
engineering solutions. there is chemical solutions. there are things that we can do. but, altogether, we have to look for the best solutions, and we still put it in an round pipe, or do we put in something else, so we can convey it faster? we will be looking heavily at that. president vietor: you could really look carefully at this chemical question, in particular, and as we are designing the new system, really find out the most non-toxic, economic -- ecologically friendly way for our situation? >> we are all over it. president vietor: commissioners, any other comments or questions on this? thank you. secretary housh: we have not received any speaker cards on this item either. president vietor: maybe we
2:25 pm
should take public comment before we continue. are there any public comments? if you could introduce yourself? >> i am the director of sustainability. first of all, thank you for the invitation to come here, in the technology is in place, we are very happy to hear, first of all, the number from the story. that included not only the odor control but also waste water treatment and drinking water treatment, and we are really happy to see an investigation of other more environmentally friendly technologies. this is a lot of what we look at in our formulations. just to be clear, we do not sell anything that would actually solve this problem. as a technical resource, we would be happy to be that, and
2:26 pm
perhaps in those dozens of vendors who have called in the past few days, something promising will come along. president vietor: thank you. we appreciate that. maybe you can give your card? sir? >> hello, i am with the san francisco green party, the chair of the sustainability working group, and i want to note, and i have said before, and it will come up later hopefully in the later presentation -- especially with global warming being what it is, we are likely to lose most or even all of our snowpack in the mountains. we are going to have to conserve water even more, so we cannot go in the direction of putting more flushing into the sewer system, and, of course, for sustainability purposes, it makes no sense to be dumping chlorine into our drains, even if it then goes through the
2:27 pm
waste water process, because that just makes the waste water process more expensive and more difficult. we switched to chlorine -- now, i can see that 20% of the chlorine we are buying is going into the sewer system. especially when chloramine may be causing other problems, a danger to fish also. one of the things i did not hear, i think it is time for the sfpuc to do a pilot project and get serious about it, and that is composting it, other types of toilets. right now, they are expensive, but if we really get on it and make a city policy to do a test on it and move towards it so we are moving towards composting toilet in san francisco, we
2:28 pm
would be doing an amazing thing for the environment, and we will even be creating soil at the same time, as well as that material will not be going into the sewer system, where it will cause contamination, coders, and problems with floods, -- cause contamination, odors, problems with floods, with the increase in sea level. commissioner: [chuckles] president vietor: i think this is an issue that we will continually have to address, so i think the composting issue is a good one. thank you. >> commissioners, i just wanted
2:29 pm
to add -- living library. i just wanted to add one thought, and that there has been work done with biological success in changing water through plants and fish through various tanks, and i think it might be very wonderful for us to have a pilot, where we experienced. experiment with cleaning water through plants and other species -- where we experiment with cleaning water. mitigating serious pollution. also, mushrooms, fungus is very good for cleaning, so i offer that. thank you. president vietor: thank you. i believe we have a living machine in our new area? >> yes.